This week, we discuss the things that stood out for us as we left 2015 behind.
Remember Google Zeitgeist? Well, it’s a thing of the past, replaced by a new 2015-year-in-review site that takes advantage of the updated Google Trends site. Google Trends was relaunched in mid-year to provide data on searches up to the current minute. (Late in 2015, Google added a pop-out feature that enables you to keep a display of the trends and the latest stories on each that automatically update and scroll in your browser.) Google has used the new trends to curate the most significant searches of the year. And for those outside of the United States, Google has created a series of pages for different countries. And yes, we still have differences in interests. We share some things in common – the Paris bombings and the Pope, for example. But we also search for the more local events and people that are most important to us where we live. Google’s year-end was a smart way to highlight the new Google Trends. If you haven’t visited Trends lately, give is a try. It’s smart, timely and useful.
We’re moving to a mobile-first world. And that means that we are spending more time in mobile apps instead of on the Web. That’s a big problem for Google, which founded its business on Web searches. But Google, like time, never stands still. And in November, Google announced that it is integrating mobile app content into searches on the Google app. Users of the Google App will be able to see content that exists only in mobile apps. Even better, Google will enable them to “open” the app as a streaming app, even if they don’t have the app itself installed on their phones. Google says that this is still an experiment, and the company rolled it out to Android users in the US-only. Yes, US-only. The rollout to the rest of the world can’t come soon enough. And to the Google naysayers, here’s evidence that Google is not going to slip into irrelevance along with desktop computing.
And Google has to innovate to keep up with the new pacesetter, Facebook. One of Facebook’s biggest moves in the past year has been the launch of Facebook Instant Articles. The basic concept is that publishers will post their stories natively to Facebook. By doing this, Facebook is providing a near instant loading of these stories on Facebook’s mobile apps. The company marshalled behavioural data it had collected in order to convince publishers that they should accept that the future of publishing is distributed across whatever platform people want to use. And by far and away the biggest platform of all is Facebook. Facebook introduced Instant Articles on a limited basis in May and then rolled them out to all users in October. Judging by my Facebook news feed, Instant Articles have become a permanent fixture of the news distribution system.
Attention is fragmented. And we want content immediately on the mobile device we are holding. In 2015, Google captured the implications of this in the concept of micro-moments – those instants of undivided attention which may lead to decisions and action. Google backed up this concept with research and published a special Website for marketers dedicated to Micro-moments. If you missed the site when it was first published, it’s well worth a read now.
And with all these changes, what about SEO. Clearly, the SEO playbook has changed substantially in recent years. We talk about whether PR pros are keeping up with the changing environment, technologies and best practices.
Are we talking only to ourselves? We hope not. Please let us know what you think about the things we discussed on this episode.
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Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.